Nation’s Leaders Gather to Celebrate a Century of Eagle Scouts’ Positive Impact on America
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Since the first Eagle Scout Award was earned in 1912, more than 2 million young men have gone on to achieve the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank. Today, a Gathering of Eagles on Capitol Hill will bring together some of the nation’s most influential leaders to honor the centennial of the hard-earned achievement.
“Scouting prepares young men to become leaders through real-life experiences that foster a sense of duty. The accomplishments of Eagle Scouts over the past century underscore the importance of Scouting to the prosperity of our nation,” said U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions, host of the gathering. “Through the leadership skills learned in Scouting, Eagles have gone on to become pioneers of space travel, founders of our nation’s largest enterprises, and, of course, civil servants. It is remarkable to have so many outstanding Eagle Scouts gathered here this evening.”
About 4 percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle rank. To do so, Scouts must demonstrate their understanding of leadership, service, character, personal fitness, and outdoor skills at multiple levels. In addition to the 21 merit badges required to earn the Eagle rank, each Scout must complete an extensive service project that he plans, organizes, leads, and manages before his 18th birthday. In 2011, 51,473 young men earned the Eagle Scout Award through the completion of 21 life skills merit badges and an extensive self-directed service project. The average number of hours spent on Eagle Scout projects is 130, which means that in 2011, Eagle Scout service projects alone represented almost 6.7 million hours of community service.
Outstanding Eagle Scout and Report to the Nation delegate Nicholas Kulick led an effort to design and install a small computer network at the Enkijape Primary School in Maasailand, Kenya. The 16-year-old Scout worked with fellow students and teachers from Highland School in Warrenton, Va. and members of the Maasailand Preservation Trust in Africa to install equipment and train students and teachers on iPads and laptops. Because the impoverished east African village didn’t have electricity, everything was connected wirelessly to a cellular Internet router that was powered by solar panels. Kulick worked with corporate and government organizations in the U.S. and Kenya to ensure the equipment would bring the school desperately needed reading material, and a new window to the world.
“Completing my Eagle Scout service project had to be one of the most challenging and most rewarding experiences of my life,” Kulick said. “I designed the project myself, so I was able to choose something that I believe is really important. And I built it myself, so I had to work the Boy Scouts of America through all of the issues that came up. Of course, that also means I got to be there to see what an incredible difference it made on the lives of others.”
Soon, findings will be released from an independent research study on the impact of Scouting, conducted by Baylor University and funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The study found that Eagle Scouts are more likely than men who have never been in Scouting to:
- Have higher levels of planning and preparation skills, be goal-oriented, and network with others
- Be in a leadership position at their place of employment or local community
- Report having closer relationships with family and friends
- Volunteer for religious and nonreligious organizations
- Donate money to charitable groups
- Work with others to improve their neighborhoods
“This research gives us external validation of something that we have known for years. Eagle Scouts are exceptional men,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “And while we’re proud to claim some truly great men in American history among our ranks, we’re even more proud that everyday Eagle Scouts become wonderful husbands, fathers, and citizens.”
Becoming an Eagle Scout requires years of dedication and hard work. The Eagle rank has become widely recognized as a mark of distinction both within and outside of Scouting. Once earned, it is worn for life.
“Being an Eagle Scout is more than setting a long-term goal as a youth, and persevering until it is achieved. It is an internalization of the values and principles young men need for life,” said Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation, current BSA national president, and Eagle Scout. “I find that I can test almost any decision I make against the oath I took as a Scout and the Scout Law, and I will always make a good decision.”
Among the 21 required merit badges to earn the Eagle rank are First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, and Family Life.
In 2011, more than 51,000 young men earned the Eagle rank. For the past six years, the BSA has averaged more than 50,000 new Eagle Scouts each year.
About the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America prepares young people for life by providing the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The Scouting organization is composed of 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21, and more than a million volunteers, in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.
SOURCE Boy Scouts of America